Pac-12 power rankings: the Pac-12 North has been consumed by chaos

With their 31 point victory on Saturday, the Utes not only clinched the Pac-12 South division title but they also sent the race for the Pac-12 North into complete and utter chaos — which is just where we like it. There are now three separate scenarios that could lead to three different division winners.

This beautiful set-up happened because Utah, Washington State, and Oregon State all won over the weekend. It was exactly what we needed for this chaos to unfold, and we’re beyond thankful that the football gods allowed this to happen. The scenarios for the Pac-12 North race are as follows:

  1. Oregon beats Oregon State in their rivalry match-up on Saturday. No matter what happens in the Apple Cup, the Ducks win the North and will have a rematch against Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game.
  2. Oregon State beats Oregon, but Washington State loses in the Apple Cup. This means that Oregon State and Oregon would be tied with a 6-3 conference record with the head-to-head tie breaker going to the Beavers.
  3. Oregon State beats Oregon and Washington State beats Washington in the Apple Cup. This would leave all three teams at 6-3 in conference play with no one with a clear head-to-head advantage — Oregon State beat Oregon which beat Washington State which beat Oregon State. In that situation, the conference then shifts to the best record against your division…which (should this scenario happen) means that Washington State would win the North with its 4-1 record against North foes.

If scenario three unfolds, the Cougars would be 7-5 and have the second worse overall record to “win” one of the conference’s divisions. Back in 2011 the Bruins “won” the Pac-12 South and represented the division in the conference title game with a 6-6 record thanks to the fact that USC was ineligible due to NCAA sanctions.

1) Utah Utes

Cam Rising didn’t have to do anything through the air as Utah’s rushing attack absolutely shredded the Ducks’ front seven. The Utes averaged 4.2 yards per carry, remember college football includes sacks in the rushing stat, and scored four touchdowns on the ground. With the win, Kyle Whittingham became the winningest coach in program history and they captured their fourth division crown.

2) Oregon Ducks

Despite not turning the ball over, Anthony Brown had a very inefficient day through the air as he completed 17 of 35 pass attempts for 231 yards — or 6.6 yards per attempt — with only one touchdown. Utah sold out to stop the run and the grad transfer was unable to take advantage. As a result, the Ducks (and the Pac-12) are on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoff race once again.

3) Washington State Cougars

After a 1-3 start that saw the quarterback position treated like a game of musical chairs, the Washington State Cougars have gone 5-2 down the stretch and beat the absolute shite out of Arizona on Friday night to secure its sixth straight (full season) bowl appearance and its seventh in the last decade. That is one hell of a turnaround.

4) Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers sent bull whipped Arizona State in a frigid Corvallis, Ore. to keep pace in the Pac-12 North. At 7-4 overall (and 5-3) in conference play Oregon State is lined up for a decent bowl game, no matter what happens over the course of rivalry week.

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5) Arizona State Sun Devils

Arizona State’s offense was completely inefficient on the road as Oregon State raced out to a 17-0 lead at the half. While the Sun Devils scored ten points over the final two quarters, it wasn’t enough for them to come back and win on the road. Despite going to a bowl game this year, it seems likely that Sparky will be joining Washington State, Washington, and USC in the search for a new head coach this off season.

6) UCLA Bruins

A 29 point win over their cross city rival had to feel good for the Bruins on Saturday. The offense was unstoppable from the second quarter on as UCLA outscored the Trojans 55-23 over the final three frames. It was a victory that, probably, took a bit of heat off of Chip Kelly’s seat.

7) Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado’s fourth win also was Washington’s seventh loss. Both squads are now 4-7 and will be staying home for the holidays after the Buffs picked up a 20-17 win at home. The defense forced four turnovers as it kept an impotent Husky offense off of the score board in the first and third quarter.

8) California Golden Bears

For the second time in the last three years, and the second time since 2009, the Stanford Axe is headed back to Berkley, Calif. Cal absolutely slaughtered the Cardinal to keep its hopes of a bowl game alive.

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9) Washington Huskies

Remember when Washington was ranked 20th and Jimmy Lake was the head coach of the future? Pepperidge Farms remembers.

(side note, WSU will probably lose the Apple Cup anyway)

10) Stanford Cardinal

No, David Shaw…your aggressiveness in the red zone is not what cost you this ball game. You no longer have the talent advantage you used too and the conservative style of play that you prefer doesn’t work particularly without it in the modern college football land scape.

11) Arizona Wildcats

Arizona made it interesting for about five minutes in the second quarter. But, other than that, the Wildcats were absolutely bullied in the fog and sleet on the Palouse. There isn’t a lot left to say about this season for Jedd Fisch’s squad other than they’re looking at a complete rebuild.

12) USC Trojans

The Trojans were not competitive and got absolutely run out of town. Whomever ends up with this head coaching job is looking at a tough slog to get USC back to where it should be.

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Photo Credit: Utah Football

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